Song (For two voices)

(notes by Philip Holberton, drawing on the researches of Andrew Rutherford and Thomas Pinney)


Not to be confused with the “Song for Two Voices” beginning ‘Follow and faint not’.

Handwritten by Kipling in Sundry Phansies, a notebook presented by Kipling to ‘Flo’ Garrard, the beautiful art student with whom he had fallen in love after meeting her in the summer of 1880, when he was fourteen. There is no firm date. Pinney suggests 1881 or 1882.

The poem was never collected by Kipling, but is to be found in Rutherford p. 107, and Pinney p. 1609.

The Poem

The two voices sing about the same lover. The first one tried to bind him by her authority, with an Oath, but he deserted her. The second is more physical and holds onto him with ‘her lips’ red seal.’

In the heading SP stands for soprano, the highest singing voice, and MZ for mezzo-soprano, a lower, but still high, pitch of voice. A contralto sings at a lower pitch still.

See also “To You”, “Caret”, and
“Solus cum Sola”.


©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved